Food for thought:
Who does the Murdoch media back in a UK General Election? Who does The Sun back in a UK General Election?
As a child I loved philosophy and martial arts, of course this meant loving all things Bruce Lee and that meant his son, Brandon, too. He made a wonderful movie called ‘The Crow’ back in 1993 and I remember watching his last interview (on the old VHS before the movie starts) where he explains that we see life as an inexhaustible well of opportunity, that it seems limitless. He explains that the reality is that our lives are finite, posing some sobering questions; how many times would we see a sunrise or sunset? How many times will we stand under a full moon in our lifetime? Perhaps twenty? Maybe less? Or remember a day in our lives with such detail that we feel is so important to who we are that we could never forget it? Perhaps ten more times or not even that, yet it all seems limitless.
This weighed heavy on me as a young boy and something I have held onto today.
We see our lives as being limitless and move about our lives dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. We forget to the do the most important thing – live now, in the moment. If we do not, then life will pass us by and we will find ourselves old without stories to tell.
In light of that experience of my youth, I have set about trying to consciously do one thing everyday that I wanted to do. One decision I took early on was to get up and watch the sunrise and set as often as I can (sometimes meaning I’d stay up throughout the night if I drank enough gin) and ponder the question ‘which one did I think was the best?’ Ultimately, for some, the answer to that question will come down to whether you fancy yourself as an optimist (sunrise-new dawn, new day) or pessimist (sunset-the end, moving into darkness). Personally, I love to look up and wonder at the stars ushered in by sunset, but after some time doing this, I came to think as Katsumoto does when he realises the beauty in the blossom of all flowers, and think of them as all being perfect.
So get up and stop whatever it is you are doing that seems so important right now and do something you haven’t don’t before. Do something that fills your soul with joy that you haven’t done for ages, you will never know how many more times you will get to enjoy it. It’s your life and you only get one chance to live it.
Five years ago I found myself staring down a mounted horse back charge and like one of those clowns in a disaster movie, stood taking pictures until the bitter end, I stood fast with my camera snapping away. Thankfully my good friend Nuno was there to pull me away.
That was parliament square and the issue was tuition fees. Students had taken to the streets in their thousands over the duplicity shown by Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats who back tracked on a pre-election pledge to abolish tuition fees, only to treble them after climbing into bed with the Conservatives. All for a little bit of power, or the illusion of it. Though this was not the first protest I had been on, it was the first time I went with the intention of capturing the moments that unfolded as they happened. My desire to pursue this driven by the reactions of people I worked closely with who saw only a very one sided view of proceedings on the mainstream media (MSM), Sky News and the BBC. I had been painfully aware of the issues of MSM bias before this, but being a first hand witness to the vast difference in the story being told was quite sobering for me.
The experience of being kettled by the police, charged on horse back and being questioned about my views – all because the television is God said otherwise – drove me to create this blog in the first place.
At the same time as I created the blog I ventured into photography, well I bought a DSLR and started pointing it at things and pushing the button, taking my camera to every protest, strike or otherwise I could make. Thousands of hours of marching, climbing, crawling and scrambling around to take the pictures I wanted, literally thousands over the past five years. I racked up quite a library and with the General Election wagons rolling, I wanted to share them with people, to remind them about what exactly has gone on the past five years; I called it my ‘Tale of Austerity, told one picture at a time’. I tried a few archival stock sites but they weren’t interested because they said I wasn’t a photographer.
I was, quite frankly, a little pissed. I had devoted much of my own free time to this, not for any gain, and not initially for this reason (to create a book) but with the words being uttered by these politicians, the lies, the fear, the rhetoric, I felt I needed to put together this pack I curated over time that asks the question “can the public afford another five years of austerity?”.
So, after the set back, I decided to go it alone and create a book. It’s called A Tale of Austerity – told one picture at a time and I guess will be an on going project for me. With another hung parliament likely or a minority Tory government taking the lead as the politics of fear continue to grow a head of steam in the UK, I will be forced to do a Volume 2 for the 2020 election (minus the next 12 months unless my friend steps up whilst I’m away to snap some stuff!) and see what state another five years of austerity will leave us in. It will be in an Ebook format and available on print just before the election I am told. Maybe too late to influence the decisions of those of you voting but maybe enough to help prick your interest in campaigning and fighting for your rights if it all goes south on May 7th.
Austerity, it hasn’t been pretty so far, one thing is for sure, five more years of the Conservatives will certainly mean the end of our NHS and the end of our emergency services – police, fire and ambo.
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Natalie. Writer. Photographer. Etc.
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